Sep 12 2010

Our Relationship to Creation

CR-mountains-and-aspens-302Tonight I begin teaching a small group study at our church based on Leonard Sweet’s book, Out of the Question…Into the Mystery.  In the introduction to this book Sweet writes, “To save the world we need something more biblical than higher standards.  We need higher relationships.  We need less to be ‘true to our principles’ and much more to be true to our relationships.  To save the world we don’t need the courage of our convictions.  We need the courage of our relationships…especially the courage of a right relationship with the Creator, the creation, and our fellow creatures.  Our problem in reaching the world is that we’ve made rules more important than relationship.”

Sweet feels we have neglected our relationships far too long.  I agree, but the idea of having a relationship with Creation intrigues me.  Obviously I’ve always known there is a relationship between humans and the earth but I guess I’ve pretty much thought of it in mechanical terms.  Perhaps we would benefit from beginning to think of our relationship to Creation in more personal terms.

If I want my relationship to Creation to be a good and healthy one then that relationship must have some of the same characteristics as my personal relationships.  In all human relationships there is give and take.  This is true in our relationship to Creation.  The earth, for its part, is very giving.  The world we live in provides for our needs, physical and spiritual.  Apart from Creation we have no life.  So the question is what do we give back?

If we really care for the earth—and care is essential for any healthy relationship—we will give Creation our attention.  We will not take it for granted or fail to monitor its health.  Second, we will give Creation our assistance when needed.  In many areas Creation suffers today and looks to us for help.  As divinely ordained stewards of Creation we are called to tend to its needs.  Third, we will give Creation our protection.  Just as we strive to protect those we care about we will also seek to protect the earth.  We will not exploit or degrade it, nor allow others to.

There are plenty of ways both the earth and we ourselves would benefit if we came to think of our relationship in more personal terms.  Considering what is at stake, it truly is a relationship worth working on.


(The image above was taken in September a few years ago in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.)